JIM SILLARS ANALYSIS

Analysis: Parliamentary Committee Inquiry

cross-reference with Hamilton

Jim Sillars

The parliamentary committee report has 187 pages; 734 paragraphs of  Committee assessment of evidence and its judgement; 11 pages devoted to the evidence from the two women civil servants; and a number of annexes. 

The report’s every word  is the unanimous verdict of the Committee. There are no dissenting notes from any member. The SNP cannot disown it. 

It is well  written and contains no evidence of the First Minister’s conspiracy theory that a majority of the members set out to damn her before they heard her evidence under oath. 

This analysis is of those parts where the principals are seen to be involved – the Permanent Secretary and the First Minister, and the two women civil servants. “P” indications a Committee report paragraph. Hamilton’s is identified with  “H.”  

The Hamilton report is not well written, something unavoidable due to the very large number of redactions, something that he himself finds disturbing.  Because of the redactions there are sections where it is impossible to know what was being examined or reported. However, there are sections, not redacted, that if cross-referenced with the Committee report, are revealing. 

The First Minister and Permanent Secretary

P599 is particularly damaging for the Permanent Secretary. I exclude from this analysis as it is now going to be at the centre of Alex Salmond’s civil case against her. 

P718, and P720 are where the First Minister is unambiguously declared to have twice misled the Committee. In P720 the Committee state a belief that  there is a potential breach of the Ministerial Code. This is separate from the matters examined by Mr. Hamilton.

The Scottish Government to the Committee:

Catch us if you can

The Committee record in paragraph after paragraph how difficult it was to get the Scottish Government to produce the material asked for; and that when it did come, there were redactions that made it nigh on impossible to understand it, with “pages after pages of full redacted texts.”. 

P60. “The Scottish Government, as will be explored in the section on access to legal advice, has now waived legal professional privilege over certain documents. It would have been preferable for the Scottish Government to review the redactions in documents already provided to the Committee, to assess whether some or all of them could have been lifted. However, because the waiving of legal professional privilege took place at such a late stage, we would have no time to consider this, even if the Scottish Government did undertake a review. This is a very unsatisfactory position to be in”   (Committee’s emphasis)

P62. Examples: “….the Committee was only informed by the Scottish Government in a letter from the Deputy First Minister of 6 November 2020 that the Principal Private Secretary to the First Minister had held two meetings with Ms A on 20 and 22 November 2017. These meeting had not been revealed in any previous material provided to the Committee by the Scottish Government……The Committee only found out about these meetings after asking the Scottish Government why the Principal Private Secretary to the  First Minister had been due to give evidence to the Commission and Diligence in the judicial review.” 

P113. The Committee record that it was “frustrated” by Alex Salmond’s“repeatedly missed deadlines set for the submission of evidence.” But make to reference to the Crown Office threatening him with prosecution if he told all he knew. It should be incumbent on a Parliamentary Committee seeking evidence to provide legal cover for a witness to comply with its remit. But there is no reference to such a responsibility.  

The judicial review

Who kept a lost cause going at public expense?

Dealing with the handling of the judicial review, the Committee engaged in a detailed examination of how it developed, and ended with the maximum damages awarded to Alex Salmond. 

P594. “By 31st. October 2018 senior external counsel had concluded that the Government would likely lose the judicial review. That assessment only  worsened as the case progressed and prior contact between the Investigation Officer and the complainers emerged. The Committee is also concerned that the First Minister decided to proceed with the judicial review despite clear advice that it would likely fail.” (Committee emphasis)

Who knew when and who told the truth?

In comes Hamilton with the birthday party…..and more

H 6.9. Nicola Sturgeon claimed to the Committee that she had not told the Parliament about her meeting with Geoff Aberdein on 29th March 2018, because she had forgotten about it. But she gave Hamilton details. “we were outside (her office) there doing a birthday cake, singing happy birthday and Geoff had asked for a word and we went into my office………………..From memory, I don’t think it was a particularly long conversation but it took place in my office.”

Although she claims to not remember much about the meeting, there is long section in that paragraph in the Hamilton report, not redacted, in which she goes into considerable detail claiming it was all about Alex Salmond’s state of mind, but also: “That’s basically, I had a general sense that it was something serious, something in the realms of a sexual complaint potentially and he was very upset about it but I agreed, we didn’t set the date of the meeting with Alec (sic) at that point, that was (arranged) over the weekend.”

6.11. Hamilton: “I find it very hard to know what to make of this story about the birthday party. Mr Aberdein’s account to me was very convincing. Equally the First Minister seemed both convinced and convincing in her account. It may be that REDACTED and more REDACTED until “have been” REDACTED followed by “However; this is speculation and it would probably not be right to place too much significance on the matter.”  Make what you can of that mince.  

It is a pity Hamilton never met my brother, whom I recall explaining to me how if people want to tell a lie, they first convince themselves it is true, and then for them it becomes truth.   

But what was “REDACTED cannot avoid that she was not afflicted with amnesia, and knew it was about something sexual. But was it about government or party?

H 7.2. Nicola Sturgeon: “On 2 April he informed me about the complaints against him, which – of course – in line with the procedure, the permanent secretary had not done.”

H 7.11: “She did deny that that the meetings were Government  which she explained on the basis that she had no responsibility for operating the Government’s harassment complaints procedure and indeed no knowledge of the complaints except for what Mr. Salmond told her.”  

H 8.6: The First Minister states that she suspected the reason Alex Salmond wanted to see her on 2 April was that he was facing an allegation of sexual misconduct………………….She says that her discussion with Mr. Aberdein on 29 March 2018 may have contributed to her suspicion.”  That does not square with her claim to have completely forgotten  the meeting with Geoff Aberdein on 29th March. 

But let us consider the question of whether Nicola Sturgeon lied to the Parliament about the meeting on 2 April. 

P672 & 673. Committee: “on 8 January 2019, the First Minister told the Parliament –

​‘The contact that I had with Alex Salmond, the dates of which I have set out today, were not Government meetings. I have known Alex Salmond as a friend and colleague for 30 years, and he was then a member of my party, although he is not at the present time. ‘

“On 10 January 2019, she told the Parliament “…like other party leaders here, I have responsibilities as leader of my party and I took part in meetings in that capacity.”

H 8.8: referring to the 2 April meeting: “it could not in my opinion be characterised as a party meeting. Members of political parties do not ordinarily attend party meetings accompanied by their lawyers, and when the First Minister’s husband, who is chairman (sic) of the SNP, arrived home, he did not join the meeting. In fairness the First Minister did not seek to make any case to me that this was a party meeting.” Unlike what she told the Parliament. 

So, her claim that she held the 2 April meeting in her capacity as party leader, making it a party meeting, was a straight lie. 

Did she promise to intervene at the 2 April meeting ?

H 8.11 has its comical moments of that meeting.. Here is Nicola, with her suspicion already aroused about  Alex Salmond being accused of something sexual, on being told it was so: “My head was spinning and I was dealing with complicated emotions…………it is entirely possible that you say things like ‘I’d love to help if I could’ – people say that kind of thing. This was a human situation.’” 

This was her explanation why Alex and his two witnesses Geoff Aberdein and Duncan Hamilton were sure she promised to intervene. 

We are asked to believe that the First Minister, a hard bitten politician with years of experience in the most senior government positions, who already had suspicions about Salmond and sexual allegations, had her head in a spin and might have got as bit loose with her language.  

P666  Her version to the Committee makes no reference to her head being in a spin, but then she was talking to equally hard bitten politicians,  not likely to believe the mind-spinning story, and be as naïve as Mr. Hamilton. 

Indeed, it seems the head did not spin for long, if at all. P681, Nicola: “I was very firm when, as I have set out, in the first meeting he informed me of the complaints and when, after that, he made me aware of the concerns he had about the process and that he was proposing mediation and arbitration.”

P687: Duncan Hamilton stated “‘I can confirm that the First Minister did offer to assist. We discussed mediation. My clear recollection is that her words were “if it comes to it, I will intervene’”

Some will be too young to remember the hilarity that greeted the defence Bill Clinton put up when confronted in a Grand Jury about having sex with Monica Lewinsky: “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

P688: Nicola’s Clinton defence: ‘I do not know what “if it comes to it” would mean in the context of what we are dealing with. If it comes to what?’  But she went on “I am trying to process it all in my mind as I go, and maybe I express myself in ways that I should not have done. I am not saying that I did not, but I believe that I was clear that I could not, and would not intervene in this process.”(my emphasis)

Out of that convoluted mishmash of words, any reasonable person would be right to assume that Duncan Hamilton’s “if it comes to it” meant “if it comes to it I will intervene.”

She sought to cement her claim of never intending to intervene by not having intervened. Perhaps on this occasion her Chief of Staff gave post-meeting sensible advice. The Committee never had the chance to question her under oath as to what was or was not said at the meeting

But not intervening later, does not disprove that she did promise, at the meeting, to intervene. The Committee had no doubts. 

P720. “The Committee notes that there is a fundamental contradiction in the evidence in relation to whether, at that meeting on 2 April 2018, the First Minister did not agree to intervene. Taking account of the competing versions of events, the Committee believes that she did in fact leave Mr. Salmond with the impression that she would, if necessary, intervene. This was confirmed by Duncan Hamilton who was also at the meeting.  Her written evidence is therefore an inaccurate account of what happened, and she has misled the Committee in this matter, and there is a potential breach of the Ministerial Code under the terms of section 1(3)(my emphasis)

The Committee on Nicola and the Ministerial Code

More than a shade different from Hamilton

P716“For all of these reasons the Committee believes the James Hamilton report is the most appropriate place to address the question of whether or not the First Minister has breached the Scottish Ministerial Code.(committee emphasis)

P717: “For its part the Committee has some observations about the evidence we have collected on the Ministerial Code phase of its inquiry.”

P718: “The Committee finds it hard to believe that the First Minister had no knowledge of any concerns about inappropriate behaviour on the part of Mr. Salmond prior to November 2017. If she did have such knowledge, then she should have acted upon it. If she did have such knowledge, then she misled the Committee.” (my emphasis)

This is the leaked para. that caused Nicola Sturgeon to make a full frontal attack on the majority in the Committee as biased before she gave evidence. Why didn’t the SNP members of the Committee tell her it was unanimous? Feart? 

P721 contains a rebuke and a lesson on how to be First Minister. Referring to the meeting on 2 April and subsequent meetings with Alex Salmond: “She should have made the Permanent Secretary aware of her state of knowledge of the complaints and the facts of the meetings at the earliest opportunity after 2 April at which point, she should have confirmed that she would cease to have any further contact with Mr. Salmond on that subject.”

It is a wonder that her Chief of Staff did not so advise her, given that she was at the meeting on 2 April and is the person whose function is to spot problems early. 

P732 ……”Had there been full disclosure of all relevant information at the outset of this Inquiry, our job would have been easier, our task accomplished quicker and our conclusions more comprehensive. If such inquiries in future are not to be afforded such full disclosure, then the Committee believes that only a judge-led inquiry would have the powers to investigate matters to the full extent.”(my emphasis)

The two women civil servants

These two women have had a hellish three years. That is clear from the evidence they gave, in private, under oath, to the Committee recorded in 11 pages. They expected, in making their allegations against Alex Salmond, it would be dealt with internally within what was promoted to staff as a new sexual harassment    policy. Through incredible blunders by the Permanent Secretary, other civil servants, and the First Minister, and in fighting the lost cause of the judicial review, they were denied what should have been their right. Instead they found themselves having to go through the trauma of a criminal trial, without any support thereafter from the Government that took their complaint, albeit without their consent, to the Crown Office.

Provision of information and sources of support

Para 23. Both MsA and MsB were asked about information provided to them throughout the process of their complaint and the judicial review. “Both witnesses said they had been reassured throughout and that they did not have ‘”any comprehension that things were going wrong”’

Para.27. One of the witnesses told the Committee: “More expert support would have been helpful, in particular around the police referral. I found it very frustrating. I had particular concerns that it would have been invaluable to be able to discuss with somebody from Police Scotland or somebody who had retired from Police Scotland –somebody with direct experience, to allow me to have a frank discussion. Instead I went through HR as an intermediary, and everything was discussed in general terms rather than engaging on the specifics of the case, which just meant that I was operating quite blind.”

Para 29. Neither woman received support from the Scottish Government since the conclusion of its process. “We were given regular updates over the period of the judicial review, but after that we were basically just dropped. We went through the entirety of the police investigation and the criminal trial with next to no contact from the Scottish Government, let alone any kind of support. There might be good reasons for that, but I certainly expected something given that the Government initiated the police referral and given the duty of care for us……………..I was quite taken aback because I felt as though we were just left to swim.”

One can only conjecture whether  MsA and MsB would have acquiesced in their case going to the police, and the trauma of a trial, if they had been advised by a former senior policeman or policewoman with experience, or an experienced lawyer, rather than through a civil service department whose ultimate head, the Permanent Secretary, could hardly wait to get  their complaint to the  Crown Office in her opening salvo of her “war” on Alex Salmond. 

Para 47. “It has been extremely upsetting to see that something that we entered into  in good faith with the intention of making things better for people in future has actually been detrimental not just to the chances of  their wanting to raise complaints in the future but to people’s mental health, because of the coverage of this.”

Reading their testimony, there are questions for the Permanent Secretary and the First Minister to answer, because it was they who contested the judicial review and the former who went post-haste to the police (doubtful if FM not consulted). 

One. Did they use MsA and MsB as pawns? Two, why when Nicola Sturgeon has claimed that her concern all along was the women, was a duty of care not exercised by providing them with specialist legal advice on whether, on the basis of their complaint, there was or was not the chance of a conviction, before they the police were called in and they faced the trauma of a criminal trial?

Three, why were they not provided with the kind of expensive specialist legal advice similar to that given to the Chief of Staff, and the civil servants who faced, not a criminal trial, but the Committee of Inquiry? 

It should be noted that when their complaints went before a jury, with a female majority, they did not meet the standard of criminality. 

Conclusion

I have no doubt the SNP leadership think that with the Hamilton and Committee reports published, that the headlines they generated will be all, and finished. Wrong.

The Permanent Secretary faces being on oath, not in the benign atmosphere of a committee room in Holyrood, but in a court being cross-examined by a skilled interrogator. A court where all the relevant documents will need to be delivered to Alex Salmond’s lawyers without pages and pages of redactions. 

The First Minister is unlikely to avoid being a witness in that case, under the same kind of examination. 

Then there are the two counts of the First Minister misleading the Committee, with one definitely going to another Ministerial Code inquiry after the election. 

Nicola Sturgeon is reported as saying she will be “Haunted” for the rest of her life after an error by the Scottish Government “let down” the two women. I suspect she will be haunted by more than that in the months ahead. 
JIM SILLARS.

My Comment

Once again I am indebted to Jim for the work he has put into this thorough analysis. It provides a glimpse of the many unaddressed issues and evidence that will be examined in the forthcoming civil case where few if any redactions will be permitted and the Judge will get a much more rounded and open view of the entire debacle. We must not prejudge but a very different outcome must be a strong possibility. Folk may wonder why with the multitude of talented elected representatives at both Westminster and Holyrood not one has tried to put together a comparable paper showing the Scottish Government in a positive light. I am sure they have their reasons.

This will be my last article that I will publish on the topic of the Inquiries as long as any ceasefire is respected. It probably makes sense given that further legal action is pending and the Scottish General Election is upon us.

I am, as always

Yours for Scotland.

Free subscriptions to this site can be secured by pressing either the Home or Blog pages of this website and completing the simple instructions. You will be most welcome.

46 thoughts on “JIM SILLARS ANALYSIS

  1. Thanks Jim. I think we all have a little hope now the dust has settled, that justice will prevail as there is clearly much more to these reports than is at first assumed.

    I feel for Ms A and Ms B, but they should never have allowed their complaints to be taken to the Police. The Police should have dismissed them as not criminal but embarked on a huge investigation instead and so on, either a series of unfortunate events or a determined effort to send AS to prison. I don’t know how it works legally and there is a suggestion that if they refused to testify the women could have been subpoenaed, but surely Ms A and Ms B could have said at some point, stop this, we want to withdraw our complaint, this was not why we raised these issues.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Luke Bells – I don’t feel any sympathy for them. Why should their words to the Committee be believed. They were not believed in court and we saw no questioning of them in the private Committee meeting which clearly was designed by them to get sympathy. Ms B said Salmond grabbed her buttocks whilst standing beside him getting a picture taking at Stirling Castle by a professional photographer. The photographer was not a witness for the prosecution saying he saw anything and the other people standing adjacent to them ( there were a number of people getting their photo taken individually with Salmond) said in court they saw nothing untoward happen. Ms A is a much longer story and I won’t go into it.

      There are photos available of alphabet women standing close to Salmond DATED AFTER all these false allegations were supposed to have taken place. Do women who have been sexually assaulted/ attempted rape stand next to the person who carried out the crime with a happy smiley face.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Fair point Cubby, I don’t know who any of the women are except the obvious one which I identified from Dani Garavelli’s Tortoise article, who is not Ms A or Ms B, or at least I don’t think she is. All this lettering is very confusing.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lulu sorry my post said Luke – no offence intended.

        My sympathy today is with Craig Murray a man who wanted to tell everyone the truth.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. The police ONLY gather evidence it is The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) that is responsible for the prosecution of crime in Scotland, they investigate if there is a ‘criminal’ case to answer and also critically if there is a good chance of gaining a conviction.

      As to who instructed the police to go on a massive and very very expensive fishing expedition, I don’t know if that has been explained for sure I cant remember who that was if it is in the public domain.

      TO quote NS the Old Boys Club maybe, the Lord Advocate (LA) had a wee word with the Chief Constable of Police Scotland (CCOPS)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. One of the BTL commenters on Wings a few weeks back gave a link to a speech that James Wolffe gave (sorry can’t remember the link). In the speech Wolffe said that in Scotland it’s the Procurator Fiscal’s office that directs the police investigation. So no need for any Old Boys club, he just flat out orders them to do it. Besides isn’t Livingstone an import from the Met? If so, he’s hardly one of the Scots Old Boys.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. “I feel for Ms A and Ms B, but they should never have allowed their complaints to be taken to the Police.” They didn’t. This is a typo in the article. It is well known fact that Lesley Evans went to the Crown Office without the permission of the complainants. See my reply below.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. So after the matter was eventually passed to the Police by Leslie Evans (note you have a typo of your own there, easy done) via the Crown Office or however the Police eventually got it, without the women’s consent, they would have been interviewed by the Police…they could have stopped it right there and then surely by saying they did not wish to press charges and would not support the case if the Police proceeded without their agreement. Could they not have done that? Then they might have been subpoenaed but it would have been clear they were reluctant witnesses.

        I am probably taking myself out of feeling any sympathy for them ;-).

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Lulu Bells,

        Alex Salmond addressed this very point. He told us that the two complainants were instructed to give affidavits to the police. They were forced, against their will, to do something they did not want to do.

        Wolffe denied it was him, but he did not say it did not happen.

        Complainants A and B were clearly fresh meat fed into the aspirations of the Scottish Government. I’m not surprised they feel abused.

        But the abuser was not Alex Salmond.

        Do not underestimate the malevolence of Nicola Sturgeon and those who support her.

        Liked by 5 people

    4. I believe in Scots Law the Police decide whether to instigate and continue with an investigation. The matter was referred to the police by Lesley Evans without the permission of the women involved. It is not up to anyone involved in the case to press charges or not to press charges. That option does not, I think, exist in Scots Law. So I don’t think the two women could have done anything at all about the subsequent investigation. They were used and discarded when they were no longer useful.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You know there is something that has always bugged me about this whole thing, now that we’ve seen the reports and we can see that these two women apparently feel they have been used, I can’t for the life of me understand why even one of them wouldn’t give up their anonymity and go public with their own story, I mean surely if you were a genuine “victim” you would be genuinely angry at how this affair was handled, especially when you had made it known you didn’t want police involvement.
    I can’t see that this would cause them any backlash and in fact it would probably help them and it would put a stop to the mental worry they must live with daily fearing that their identities will one day be exposed as surely they will be.

    I have put myself in their position and I know without doubt if I were a genuine victim I would certainly have come clean, that neither has chosen to do this confirms in my mind the fact that they know they were part of a stitch up.
    I truly hope Alex finally gets closure with this court case, it doesn’t bear thinking about the torture that this has caused him and his wife.
    Anyway, we’ll just have to wait and see what the outcome is.
    I wonder if Evans will be coaxed into resigning, maybe with a big pay off, I say that because wouldn’t that be the only thing that could stop the court case going ahead and which might well bring the lot of them down?

    Liked by 5 people

    1. helentyates, I suspect that AS has anticipated Evens being moved either voluntary or otherwise with his choice of words regarding the potential of other court action.
      Sturgeon, her COS and Evans appear to think they extremely clever and have got away with it but I wonder if at a later date one of the women will have a conscience or be offered a huge sum of cash to reveal the true depths Sturgeon and Co have gone to.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I have thought about this too Helen. Is it not the case that one of the first complainers, A or B was the woman who had previously raised what happened between her and Alex Salmond and Alex had apologised, she was offered a move which she declined etc? Putting myself in her shoes…no thanks. A matter dealt with and APOLOGISED for and you decide to jump on the ‘Metoo’ bandwagon, silly woman.

      I do feel some sympathy for them but they did not think it through. However Scottish Government HR are nutters (not a sweeping statement, trust me) and they never really stood a chance.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Lulu & Helen
        You both raise good points which I pretty much agree with.
        It’s clear Ms A (and confirmed by Craig Murray) was the only woman to have a genuine complaint but like you say it was dealt with at the time with the offer of a job move with the same pay grade. If the incident was more than a drunken cuddle as described by Ms. A at the trial, I most certainly would have opted for the move. Why continue to work with an ‘abuser’?
        Whatever happened though, Ms A needs to take responsibility for her choice in accepting due process ‘back then’ and draw a line under it.
        Like yourselves I don’t understand why she didn’t object once the police were involved, if called against her wishes she would have been called as a hostile witness. So unfortunately, it just looks like she colluded in the plot.
        Having said all that, there is no doubt she was used by the SG, who approached her and then dropped any pretence of support. In this respect her function as the catalyst for the whole criminal trial was fulfilled.
        Was she warned about losing her job if she didn’t play along? We’ll never know but I might be thinking of stepping forward and giving the full story.
        (MsB, who I am going to suppose is Ms. H in the trial is quite a different case. She lied, end of.)

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Ms A in the JR was Woman K in the criminal trial, the “sleepy cuddle” lady, and Ms B was Woman F the “Alex grabbed my bum in front of a photographer and a whole crowd of spectators and nobody saw a thing” person. Confusing isn’t it?

        I’m with Cubby and Contrary on having no sympathy for the complainers. Ms A exaggerateded her story from a consensual fumble into attempted rape and Ms B flat out lied. In their place I would have been nervous about going to the Police too – you can go to jail for perjury. As for their sob story to the Committee I’ll defer to the noted legal expert Mandy Rice-Davies: “Well (s)he would say that wouldn’t (s)he”. I rest my case.

        Liked by 5 people

      3. StuartM, don’t put words in my mouth, particularly when I haven’t been part of this discussion. You are wrong about me having no sympathy for the original complainers – well, for MsA – they were badly used by the Scottish Government who behaved atrociously throughout.

        Once an allegation is made, it is up to the official to determine the reasonableness – and we have a whole tranche of officials here who didn’t assess the reasonableness of the complaints. As is pointed out above the police being the final guard so things didn’t get out of hand, instead of sending the women to advocacy services for advice, seem to have encouraged their complaints to ‘grow arms and legs’.

        The whole affair is appalling.

        There are implications of ‘encouragement’ by the SG and also pressure from the Lord Advocate to cooperate with the police. I can’t see anything in the evidence given that the SG actors cared about the two (three) complainers or their lives.

        Note as well that MsA and MsB were in full communication with each other right from the start – early November 2017 when the Procedure started being formulated – the implication being that MsB was encouraging MsA to come forward (and probably helping to add all the extra fantasy bits to the event). Once allegations were made they all pretended the didn’t know each other. People can be swept up and led astray though.

        You also have your allegations /women mixed up StuartM – MsA was WomanF and MsB was WomanK, according to Gordon. The Stirling castle photo shoot was WomanE and, I believe, those charges were withdrawn.

        Like others have said here – why, if they feel they were wronged by the courts and believe their allegations, would they not drop their anonymity to come forward? Most of the allegations were shown to be entirely false of course & I have no sympathy for anyone that makes stuff up. MsA’s allegations did have some substance, but did not happen in the way described in court, but we can’t know why those allegations grew arms and legs.

        Yet.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Lulu Bells, you say ” Scottish Government HR are nutters” – I can only agree wholeheartedly! And they are nutters happy to go along with any mad instructions given to them – not a critical thought amongst them. Not one seemed to consider: ‘is what I am doing going to achieve the aim that I’m claiming it will’.

        Like

    3. Will there be a court case? It may be that, rather than have all the supposedly incriminating documents disclosed, they seek an out-of-court settlement?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I doubt Alex would settle out of court, it’s not just a matter of money although he has to be 500K or more out of pocket. To restore his reputation he needs the conspiracy and the conspirators exposed in open court and brought to justice. If you were in his shoes would you accept a payoff and leave your persecutors victorious?

        Liked by 6 people

    4. helenyates: incongruous as it might sound by giving up their anonimity might they not be committing a contempt of court in assisting jigsaw identification of others following the order set down by Lady Dorrian at the trial in which they participated as complainants?

      Would it not just be possible this ‘catch all firewall’ in the form of a contempt of court order, was inspired to protect the SG from further exposure?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ” .. one (issue of misleading of the enquiry) definitely going to another Ministerial Code inquiry after the election.”

    News to me, but so much has happened I could have missed something. So, who will be referring which of the two issues to a new enquiry, and who will hold the enquiry?

    Like

  4. Under-noted are details of the access phone number and access code required to listen in this morning to the High Courts verdict and or sentence to be applied to Craig Murray’s

    Contempt of Court
    Case: Advising – Petition and Complaint – HMA v Craig Murray
    Date: 25 March 2021
    Time: 10am
    Dial (United Kingdom toll): +44-20-7660-8149
    Access code: 183 416 6799

    STARTS AT 10.00 AM.

    Like

  5. An excellent critique from Jim Sillars.

    I reckon his final conclusion is correct and that this whole stinking saga will run for a long time yet, especially as there is now legal action pending which will involved some and possibly all the main ‘players’.

    The odour will hang around over the forthcoming election, the offices of government and the SNP for some time yet until the truth, warts and all, is revealed in full.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Sturgeon is destroying the best chance for Scottish independence to date. If her top priority was independence she would NEVER have embarked on the get Salmond course of action.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Sadly you are KUNFOOSED NS has said on many many occasion that the May election will be a vote of confidence in herself

        I don’t remember her saying anything about this being the way forward to independence, apart from the SNP saying vote SNP 1 & 2 which is the best way to waste the list vote and vote in anyone but the SNP

        Liked by 3 people

  6. Well summed up.

    I think the nugget still to come, is that the FM has a duty to rectify the records (in addition to properly recording official government meetings) as soon as possible.

    The evidence from the Inquiry shows clearly that she has not done so, and that official minutes were not taken, or were later destroyed.

    However, I’m mindful of the ‘cash for ash’ situation with the DUP in NI. Westminster backing is a powerful thing when protecting its own interests.

    Where Scotland sits now, is where it sat for a 100 years with Labour – ‘we need the broad shoulders of the bigger WM party to affect change’. Now of course, its, ‘we can’t achieve Indy without the broad shoulders of the biggest party in Scotland’ – and in both cases the parties have been nobbled – and have one purpose – to block Indy.

    Until all in the Yes movement find their courage… and realise the power is with them. Then we are stuck.

    Liked by 8 people

  7. Ever the statesman Alex Salmond has said he will now leave it up to the Courts to deal with the civil wrongs of government and the Police to deal with the criminal leak to the Daily Record – and that he will be issuing no more statements.

    In stating that he has faith in the Courts I trust that his faith is very well placed.will be absolutely accurate with that.

    The Lord Advocate be conflicted and compromised, but the Courts haven’t been And this should be a source pride in these dark murky days now so clearly exposed.

    As for the Police, they now have to show their integrity. In the orbit of the Lord Advocate they must dispel absolutely any notion of bias. Again Salmond says he believes they will do so. Government has been shown to be murky, and then some. Traduced in the eyes of the public. But the Courts and the Police can shine and show in due course there is justice and fairness by investigating and revising with impeccable honesty.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. This is a useful article from the point of view of the comparisons between the two different inquiries.

    However, it is riddled with bad grammar errors (possibly due to insufficient proof reading) and misleading ones at that. The most obvious error relates to the women’s complaints here “.. the Government that took their complaint, albeit with their consent, to the Crown Office.” This should obviously read “.. WITHOUT their consent,..” Any unscrupulous actor could quote this in bad faith at some point in the future.

    I’m a bit of a grammar/punctuation stickler, so I’ve noticed a great deal of this type of error in many blogs and replies to posts over a number of years.

    I’m loath to raise this since the article deals with a very important subject and deals with it well, but I have a real concern that misquotes are meat and drink to those who are not our friends. I would be more than happy to assist with proof reading or grammar correction for anyone who would like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. No sympathy for either of these women. One allowed herself to be manipulated into exploiting an issue that had been dealt with previously and honestly by Alex Salmond who could easily have denied it as there were no witnesses. She also allowed the ‘sleepy cuddle’ to grow arms and legs until it was distorted into some trust the conspirators could use as the basis for their plot.

    As for the other woman – she has clearly been used by those manipulating the conspiracy overall but is a key player nevertheless. I can’t say any more. Her weapon, as with Evans, is that she will know where the bodies are buried. She will definitely know the extent of Sturgeon and Murrell’s involvement. Hence neither she nor Evans have lost their jobs.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This section is incorrect. I was going to write to my MSP about it and so checked.

    ‘P718: ……
    This is the leaked para. that caused Nicola Sturgeon to make a full frontal attack on the majority in the Committee as biased before she gave evidence. Why didn’t the SNP members of the Committee tell her it was unanimous? Feart? ‘

    It wasn’t unanimous. It had the number 2 after it.
    ‘2 This paragraph was agreed to by division: For 5 (Jackie Baillie, Alex Cole—Hamilton, Murdo Fraser,
    Margaret Mitchell, Andy Wightman), Against (Alasdair Allan, Linda Fabiani, Stuart McMillan, Maureen
    Watt)- Alasdair Allan, Linda Fabiani, Stuart McMillan and Maureen Watt disagreed with this
    paragraph on the grounds that it does not distinguish between bullying behaviour and sexual
    harassment. Some evidence to the inquiry indicated that the former First Minister could display
    bullying behaviour, the First Minister explained that he could be very challenging to work for but there
    has been no suggestion the First Minister was aware of sexual harassment.’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This section was also not unanimous: https://wingsoverscotland.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/fc734.jpg, and split the same way as the one you refer to.

      It deals with whether the Parliament has sufficient powers to hold the executive to account, concludes it may not, and recommends a way of rectifying that.

      Its lack of unanimity does not affect the arguments being presented in Jim’s article, but it is revealing that the SNP members of the committee did not, apparently, want the Parliament to be able to increase its powers.

      Like

  11. Nobody knows what any court will decide. As Alex Salmond says folk should just let them get on and do their job and our priority now is the ‘independence’ election.

    Though a tall order, a strong AFI list vote in favour of independence at this ‘independence’ election plus rejection of the daeless SNP leadership cabal in specific constituencies is arguably the indy movements best/only short term hope to bring about an urgent refocus and action on the main aim.

    The Bloc Quebecois lost all but 4 of their 49 seats in the Canadian general election a decade ago, whilst in Catalonia Esquerra lost more than half its seats as ‘punishment’ for its coalition and ‘accommodation with colonialism’. We all know what happened to ‘Scottish’ Labour in the 2015 GE.

    While the msm pundits and polls may suggest ‘more of the same for the SNP, change is surely coming.

    Like

  12. Although few of us have hard polling data to back it up I suspect Alf Baird suspicions about the future fortunes of the SNP in May could be very well founded.

    In my own area word is leaking out that the SNP vote has dropped significantly. With these reports absolutely chiming with many many members who are absolutely aghast and disillusioned by what their party has become, i too suspect that the SNP have become toxic.

    Rotten, conniving, full of self entitlement, in a party jettisoning core values is what did for the Labour Party, and it is what will do for the SNP. Cosy and comfortable, with sharpened stilettos for anyone who gets in the way of the trough, I do think change is coming.

    AFI and or ISP for the list, together with some high profile alternatives in the constituency..yes,mchange is coming.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Lulu & Helen
    You both raise good points which I pretty much agree with.
    It’s clear Ms A (and confirmed by Craig Murray) was the only woman to have a genuine complaint but like you say it was dealt with at the time with the offer of a job move with the same pay grade. If the incident was more than a drunken cuddle as described by Ms. A at the trial, I most certainly would have opted for the move. Why continue to work with an ‘abuser’?
    Whatever happened though, Ms A needs to take responsibility for her choice in accepting due process ‘back then’ and draw a line under it.
    Like yourselves I don’t understand why she didn’t object once the police were involved, if called against her wishes she would have been called as a hostile witness. So unfortunately, it just looks like she colluded in the plot.
    Having said all that, there is no doubt she was used by the SG, who approached her and then dropped any pretence of support. In this respect her function as the catalyst for the whole criminal trial was fulfilled.
    Was she warned about losing her job if she didn’t play along? We’ll never know but I might be thinking of stepping forward and giving the full story.
    (MsB, who I am going to suppose is Ms. H in the trial is quite a different case. She lied, end of.)
    Thanks for the analysis Jim and thanks for posting Iain.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ms B was Woman F in the trial, not H. H was the woman who complained to Ian McCann at SNP Head Office, which suggests she wasn’t a civil servant and thus not within the scope of the HR process.

      Like

      1. Thanks for the correction. To be honest I made the assumption because I couldn’t believe Evans would have passed a complaint of buttock touching to Police Scotland. Trivial beyond belief.
        Attempted rape on the other hand…..

        Like

  14. Hi folks,

    Still thinking about what Alex said yesterday. What a leader. And great leaders require and have great followers. His final words yesterday was very much a rallying call to us, his followers. He gave us his thoughts and direction on what he and WE should be doing next.

    “I intend to move on, just as Scotland should now move on to debate the key election issues before us all, principally economic recovery from the pandemic and the future independence of our country.”

    Got to say, not seeing much evidence here today of Alex’s plea for us to be to moving on to concentrate on debating key election issues.

    Less than 6 weeks to the 6th May🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Many thanks for your considered analysis and comparisons with the two reports, Jim.
    So much damage done to the ‘me too’ movement done by the Scottish Gov and the Alphabet women. I’m ashamed! (to be a woman and Scottish?)
    A.S raised us towards the summit of hope for our country’s aspirations of independance and would have delivered but for the dirty tricks of wider political/media machinations breaking ‘purdah’ (and appealing to the 500,000 of confused incoming residents).
    I welcome A.S taking the not so Civil Servant to Court. His civil and human right should be to clear his name, not just for him but for us all!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Some of us are old enough to recall not only the Clinton, “‘is’ is” defence; but also when we had quality newspapers that could deliver a masterly, analytic précis of these events.

    I salute the private citizen who steps into their shoes. Bravo, Mr Sillars.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. “when their complaints went before a jury, with a female majority, they did not meet the standard of criminality.” This is misleading. What the jury found was that these events did not happen (or, in one case, were not proven) Jurors are never asked “how criminal was the behaviour?” – that issue has already been settled in the formulation of the charges. I make this point because ” they did not meet the standard of criminality” plays into the hands of those who wish to keep on insisting that AS “was guilty, really”.

    Liked by 2 people

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: